With glorious autumn weather and a great collection of hiking friends, old and new, the 2013 Veterans Day walk was a rousing success. We completed the hike in record time, thanks to our newest – and youngest – hike director, eight year old Charley.
From the start of the hike, she was skeptical of our published two hour estimate to complete the 2.2 mile hike. “You said this is going to take two hours but it’s only two miles,” she said to Tom. “When we are in school we walk a lot faster than that. This should only take one hour.
Wow, a great hike leader and good at math, too. Nothing like being busted by an eight year old!
She was true to her word, too. Once Tom showed Charley what the blazes were and how to read them, she was off. She commandeered the hike and lead the pack of fifteen hikers the rest of the way, at a solid two mile an hour pace while her mom Lisa and the rest of us raced to keep up.
Across the boardwalk, through the woods, and through the farm fields she took us. For the first time ever, HIKE for Mental Health had an eight year old girl lead one of our hikes. We hope she will return to lead many more. Thank you, Charley!
And thanks to all the hikers, those who donated on their behalf, and to our staff photographer Donna for all the great pictures.
All the funds raised from this hike to go to buy mental health books and materials for the behavioral ward of a VA hospital serving mostly active duty service men and women. As Rosa, the VA nurse, says, “They may have left the battlefield, but for them the struggle is now on the inside.”
On this Veterans Day, HIKE for Mental Health salutes all veterans, their families and all those who work to support and care for them in so many ways.